Can Mobility Scooters Go on Airplanes?

Traveling with a mobility scooter can be a freeing experience, allowing you to explore the world without letting physical limitations hold you back. 

However, when it comes to traveling by airplane, a common question arises: Can mobility scooters go on airplanes?

The simple answer is, yes, mobility scooters can indeed be transported by air. But there are protocols, guidelines, and restrictions to bear in mind. 

Understanding these rules and regulations will make your journey smoother and free of stress. 

Let’s delve into the world of air travel with mobility scooters to ease your upcoming travel plans.

Key Takeaways

  • Mobility Scooters Can Travel by Air: Traveling by air with a mobility scooter is absolutely possible. However, knowing the specific airline’s rules and regulations beforehand can prevent any unwanted surprises.
  • Airport Security and Mobility Scooters: Mobility scooters need to pass through airport security just like other belongings. It’s essential to know what to expect when you approach security with a mobility scooter.
  • In-cabin or Checked Luggage: Depending on the scooter’s size and the airline’s policies, you may be able to bring your mobility scooter into the cabin, or it may need to be stowed as checked luggage.
  • Battery Limitations: Not all scooter batteries are created equal, especially in the eyes of airlines. Certain types of batteries are accepted, while others may be restricted.
  • Airline-Specific Policies: Each airline has specific rules concerning mobility scooters. Familiarize yourself with the policies of the airline you’ll be flying with to avoid confusion and ensure a seamless experience.

Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ensures the protection of the rights of people with disabilities during air travel. The Act prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including transportation. This means that airlines must accommodate passengers with mobility scooters, providing them access to flights and all facilities on the airplane, as well as in the airport.

This ADA protection applies not only to individuals with permanent disabilities but also to those with temporary mobility impairments. For a deeper dive into the ADA and mobility scooters, you can explore the ADA guidelines on mobility scooters.

Taking a Disability Scooter on a Plane

To take a mobility scooter on a plane, it’s vital to communicate with the airline beforehand. Each airline has different policies regarding mobility scooters, which can influence factors such as how early you should arrive at the airport and how the scooter will be stored during the flight.

Also, keep in mind that not all mobility scooters are created equally, and some are more suitable for air travel than others. Mobility scooters can vary considerably in size, battery type, and ease of disassembly, all of which can influence how the scooter is transported on an airplane. You can learn more about the different types of mobility scooters in our article on the different types of mobility scooters.

Going Through Airport Security With a Mobility Scooter

Just like any other piece of luggage or equipment, mobility scooters must go through airport security. Security personnel will inspect the scooter for any prohibited items and may require it to be disassembled.

It’s important to have an understanding of how your scooter disassembles for this process. You might also need to transfer to an airport wheelchair while your scooter is being screened. More details about the process of going through airport security with a mobility scooter can be found in our guide on mobility scooter driving.

Can You Take Your Mobility Scooter in the Plane Cabin With You?

You might be wondering if you can bring your mobility scooter into the cabin with you during a flight. The answer largely depends on the size and type of the scooter, and the airline’s policies. However, in most cases, mobility scooters are not permitted in the plane’s cabin due to space constraints and safety regulations.

Still, airlines are generally very accommodating to the needs of individuals who rely on mobility aids and will ensure the scooter is handled with care and returned promptly upon arrival at your destination. For passengers who need mobility assistance within the plane, airlines often provide aisle chairs, a special type of wheelchair designed to navigate the narrow aisles of the aircraft.

Can You Send Your Mobility Scooter as Checked Luggage?

Yes, you certainly can. Airlines consider mobility aids such as scooters, wheelchairs, or walkers to be priority items for check-in. This means they are usually checked in without any extra charge, irrespective of the baggage allowance.

Most airlines will check your mobility scooter at the gate, and it will be one of the last items loaded onto the plane. Upon arrival, it is generally one of the first items offloaded and will be returned to you at the gate or jet bridge as soon as possible. Always confirm these details with your airline as policies may vary.

Storing a Mobility Scooter on a Plane

Mobility scooters are typically stored in the cargo hold of the airplane, which is pressurized and temperature controlled, just like the passenger cabin. Airlines have special protocols in place to ensure the safe handling and secure storage of mobility aids.

Your scooter will be tagged with a special priority label to make sure it’s given the right handling and attention. Some airlines may require you to disconnect the battery during the flight, while others may have different requirements. Always check with your airline for their specific protocols regarding storing mobility scooters.

Battery Limitations for Disability Scooters on Planes

There are specific rules related to traveling with batteries that power mobility devices on aircrafts. According to FAA regulations, both spillable (wet cell) and non-spillable (gel or dry cell) batteries are permitted on flights, but they require different handling procedures.

Non-spillable batteries do not need to be removed from the scooter during the flight, although the battery terminals should be protected to prevent short circuits. Spillable batteries may need to be removed and packed separately in a leak-proof, protective container.

Lithium-ion batteries, commonly used in newer, lightweight scooters, are also allowed, but they are subject to specific regulations due to their higher energy content and potential fire risk. Always contact your airline before your trip to understand their battery regulations. For more in-depth information, you can refer to our article on mobility scooter battery care.

Airplane Approved Mobility Scooters

While most scooters can be safely transported on an airplane, there are certain models that are particularly suited for travel due to their size, weight, and ease of disassembly. These “travel scooters” or “portable scooters” often have a compact design, weigh less than 40 pounds, and can be easily broken down into several pieces without the need for tools.

These qualities not only make them easier to handle during the check-in and boarding process, but they can also fit into the overhead compartments on some planes. Check out our guide to the best travel mobility scooters for more details.

Mobility Scooters on United Airlines

United Airlines allows customers to travel with mobility scooters at no additional charge. The scooter will be checked at the gate and returned to the passenger at the gate upon arrival at their destination. United requires that lithium-ion batteries be removed and carried in the cabin.

Mobility Scooters on Delta

Delta Air Lines also allows mobility scooters on their flights. The battery type must be identified, and all battery terminals should be insulated to prevent accidental activation. Delta recommends that you check in an hour earlier than the normal check-in time to allow for the scooter’s proper handling.

Mobility Scooters on British Airways

British Airways accepts mobility scooters for travel, but they should be able to be broken down into parts not exceeding 190 cm in length, 75 cm in width, and 65 cm in height. The battery needs to be disconnected, and the terminals should be insulated to avoid accidental activation.

Mobility Scooter Information by Airline

Airline policies regarding mobility scooters can vary, so it’s important to contact your specific airline for the most accurate information. Some airlines may require advanced notice or have different requirements depending on the type of scooter or battery. Be sure to provide all relevant information about your scooter, including its size, weight, and type of battery.

Best Practices for Traveling With a Personal Scooter

Traveling with a mobility scooter requires a bit of planning and preparation to ensure a smooth experience. Here are a few tips:

  • Contact your airline in advance: Notify them about your scooter and ask about their specific requirements or guidelines.
  • Arrive early: This gives you plenty of time to check-in your scooter and make it to your flight.
  • Protect your scooter: Use protective covers and remove any loose parts to prevent damage during transport.
  • Bring essential tools and parts: Carry tools needed for basic repairs or adjustments and spare parts that are critical to the operation of the scooter.
  • Know your scooter’s specifications: Keep a record of the model, weight, size, and battery type of your scooter to provide accurate information to the airline.

For more tips, see our mobility scooter traveling guide.

Are Mobility Scooters Allowed in Other Types of Transportation?

Yes, mobility scooters are generally allowed on various other modes of public transportation. 

This includes buses, trains, subways, and cruise ships. 

However, the specific policies can vary widely depending on the transportation provider. 

Always contact the provider in advance to ensure you understand their policies and any potential restrictions. 

For instance, our article on taking a mobility scooter on a train or subway may be helpful in understanding the general guidelines for such public transit systems.

All the claims made in this article are only for informational purposes, based on the writer’s experience and not clinical advice. You should always consult your physician or physical therapist if you have any doubts about how this applies to your specific case.